Invertebrate news 2005
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring
Late moths still on the wing Small numbers of Winter Moth were still on the wing, during a relatively mild December 21st evening. At least ten adult males were noted from the car along the Eakring-Wellow minor road.
National Moth Night July 9th 2005 As part of National Moth Night, I ran a light trap in the area at Red Hill. Among a trap list containing well over 60 species, were the first area records of Buff Arches and Swallowtail since 2001. Buff Arches (pictured below) had been one of the target species for the year. Following no sign of it during the intervening few year's trapping, I was pleasantly surprised to get four in the trap during a two hour session. A similar situation (with a similar outcome) had existed with the Swallowtail, another relatively common species. Three at the light came after a series of blank years, despite regular trapping.
A total of 218 moths were trapped in all, with the species list providing one new moth for the area in the shape of Thistle Ermine. Apart from Common Footman, no species dominated the catch and numbers per species were generally small, but variety good.

National Moth Night is an annual UK event, aimed at promoting an interest in moths within the general public and to record scarce target species selected beforehand.

Red Admirals and Silver Y's continue to arrive Sightings of Red Admirals and Silver Y moths have increased over recent days, suggesting that a further arrival had taken place at the end of June/early July. A walk around the Eakring Meadows and Hare Hill Wood area on July 3rd revealed three Red Admirals (including one moving north over fields) and two Silver Y's. This has also coincided with a sudden increase in the numbers of Red Admirals noted in the Sherwood Forest area from June 28th onwards.
Broad-bodied Chasers and Emperor Dragonflies present in record numbers 2005 seems to be an excellent year for two of the area's most impressive dragonflies - the Broad-bodied Chaser and Emperor Dragonfly. Numbers are greatly increased and most waters are currently holding adults. In previous years the Emperor Dragonfly has always out-numbered the (almost annual) Broad-bodied Chaser, with most records for both speices being confined to the Eakring Flash area. However, 2005 has seen numbers rise to such an extent, that both male and female Emperors have been found in the middle of Lound and Hare Hill Woods respectively. The Broad-bodied Chaser can currently be found at most waters throughout the recording area and differs from the similar Black-tailed Skimmer, by having brown patches at the base of the wings.
Hornets nesting in the area again Hornets are nesting in the area again, with two adults seen in Hare Hill Wood on July 3rd. The nest site will be looked for, over the coming weeks.
2005 Migrant butterfly and moth arrival dates All four of the most regular migrant butterflies and moths have (unusually) occured before the end of May. First arrival dates are as follows. Diamond-back Moth April 11th (earliest ever) Red Admiral May 15th, Silver Y May 26th, Painted Lady May 31st.
Queen Hornet found in the area The first ever record of a queen Hornet (Vespa crabo) came recently, when I discovered one at the base of a young Cherry Tree in the Red Hill area on May 3rd 2005. By any standards, the Hornet is one of our most impressive and imposing insects. Workers have a length of nearly 3.5cm, which means it is by far the largest species of wasp found in the UK. It is also quite uncommon, but has increased it's range during recent years following a succession of mild Winters. The south-east UK is still perhaps it's real stronghold, but it can now be encountered just about anywhere in Nottinghamshire. Records of this wasp, have increased here in the past few years. There are several Hornet sub-species found throughout Europe, with Vespa crabro vexator (Harris 1776) occurring in the UK.
Red Sword-grass taken at light from the area, for second year running A second Red Sword-grass has been taken in the Eakring area. The moth was attracted to MV light on February 17th, operated at the entrance to Lound Wood. It follows the adult from Hare Hill Wood, that was unexpectedly taken at light on April 24th 2004. The Red Sword-grass is a very rare moth in Nottinghamshire and given Grade 2 (possibly now Grade 1) status. Over the last few decades, the species has only been reported at Ivy blossom from a Misterton garden during the 70's, 80's and 90's (per Dr Sheila Wright) It now looks certain that the Red Sword-grass is indeed breeding in the area, following some tentative speculation about the possibility last year.

Note:- There has also been a recent Red Sword-grass record from the neighbouring county of Leicestershire, with one taken at light from Fox Covert, Ulverscroft on March 9th (forwarded to me by Mark Skevington) More information and pictures can be found by visiting the Leicestershire & Rutland Moths website. Other Midlands records have also followed during the early months of 2005, including another from Leicestershire, the fourth and fifth ever for Worcestershire and the third Warwickshire record since 1904. Staffordshire also produced it's fourth record since 1930. A Red Sword-grass was also taken at light from Fernham (Oxon) and is only the second VC22 record in the last 50 years. This scattering of records from across central England could suggest that the Red Sword-grass is expanding it's range eastwards from the Welsh population.

Note:- Another Notts record has also occurred early this year, with an adult at light from Ploughman Wood (per Sheila Wright)

Grey Shoulder-knot produces fifth area record Another Grey Shoulder-knot was taken at light from Lound Wood on the evening of March 24th 2005. This is the fifth record for the area.
Grey Shoulder-knot hibernating at Eakring Flash (2003 records are now the 2nd and 3rd for Nottinghamshire) An adult Grey Shoulder-knot has recently been roosting/hibernating openly on a tree trunk at Eakring Flash. The moth was in more or less the same position, since it was first noticed on November 27th 2004 and was still present on December 31st, but was not there at the start of 2005. Hibernating moths are not always easy to find and as there are currently only a handful of records for the county, this is a rare record in it's own right. Light-trapping in the area during 2004 has revealed that the Grey Shoulder-knot is still a scarce moth in the Eakring and Kersall area (but is very likely increasing) following the first records for the area of two post-emergent adults in September 2003. These records represented only the 2nd and 3rd Nottinghamshire records and followed an adult taken at light by Martin Kennewell in March 2003.